Fotos from the past
Researched by Michael J. Caylor Jr
Want to own a piece of Merrill history? You could this Saturday as the contents of the former city hall are put on the auction block. Local auctioneer Rusty Sukow will begin auctioning off items at 1 p.m. on Saturday on the steps of the former building. When he is done, 124 assorted chairs, 20 tables, 14 desks, trunks, desk lamps, refrigerators, counters, a drill press and an addressograph machine will all have new owners. Some of the more impressive items include 18 captain’s chairs that filled the front of the council chambers and the executive desk which former mayor Ralph Voigt governed behind for the last 15 years. City Engineer Charles Pierotti reported that additional excess furniture from the new city hall will also find its way down for the auction. Chief of Police Charles Johnson advised traffic will be prohibited from the 700 block of E. 1st Street in the hours proceeding up to and during the auction. It is suspected that besides the curious public plenty of antique dealers will be on hand as well. In case of rain the auction will be moved to Sunday at 1 p.m. (I own one of the captain’s chairs – something my father purchased that day – Merrill PD still has some of the original chairs in use in their lobby).
Holy Cross Hospital has announced a rate increase effective July 1. An increase in costs has led to the 12% boost in charges. A private room in the hospital will now cost the patient $82 per day, while a semi-private room will run $76. Al Urbanski the spokesperson for Holy Cross, told of cost abatement procedures that have been implemented facility wide which have actually reduced rate increases as compared to previous years.
In news briefs: Brenda Hulke has been named the Queen at the 2nd annual Wisconsin Shrine Game. The 7th grader is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Darrell Hulke. Sandra Polinski, news director at WAEO-TV in Rhinelander has announced she is running for the 35th Assembly seat currently occupied by Sheehan Donoghue (R-Merrill), Polinski is a native of St. Germain and will run as a Democrat. I have been told it is not polite to guess a female’s weight, but you could win free tickets to the circus if you do. In a contest preceding the Carson and Barnes Circus coming to Merrill next month, the youth of the area are invited to guess the weight of Susie the elephant. Winners can win up to six free tickets to take your entire family to the circus which will be held at the Martin Rohloff farm. You can pick up your entry forms at M&I Bank, Park City Credit Union, Merrill Federal Savings and Loan, or the Lincoln County Bank. Congrats to Betty Voelz, she has won the Lincoln County Dairy Bake Off. The recipe for her poppy seed cheese loaf is on the living page.
In what Sheriff Ron Krueger describes as the most horrific accident he has ever witnessed in his 14 years as sheriff, five people have been killed in a car train crash north of Merrill. The incident occurred on Schulz Spur Road in the Town of Merrill at about 10:30 on Monday when a west bound vehicle being operated by Raymond Meyer of Gleason was struck by a northbound Wisconsin Central Limited train. Meyer and his wife Charlene along with Ruth Kautz and her grandchildren Emily and Holly Kautz, ages 4 and 2, were killed. It is speculated the group was returning from fireworks when the accident took place. Another child, 6 year old Jennifer Kautz, is the only survivor of the accident; she is in good condition at Good Samaritan Health Center where she was taken by squad car after the accident. Combined funeral services for the victims will be held on Friday at St. John’s Lutheran Church.
After 52 years in business, Bloechl Motors located across from the post office has changed hands. Jerry Brickner of Brickner Motors has assumed ownership of the dealer as of last month and renamed the business Brickner Park City. The Brickner family also owns Brickner Chrysler Center in Wausau and Brickner Motors of Little Chicago. Jim Priebe, a co-owner will stay on in an informal capacity while Jim Bloechl will remain with the business as service manager. Jim Brickner, nephew to Jerry, has joined the business. (I would keep an eye on the nephew, I bet he does well).
Good Samaritan Health Center in Merrill has announced they will now staff the emergency room 24 hours a day with a physician. The previous practice of calling in family physicians from home will end as the doctors who are under contract from National Emergency Services Inc. will remain in the building at all times to provide emergency care. Joe Younker of Good Sam explained that this change will allow the doctors from Family Medical Clinic to focus on their patients and stop postponed or delayed office visits due to emergency room needs. In a picture on page two emergency room nurse Heidi Duley is pictured with new ER doctor Steven Colemand and Family Medical Clinic doctor Michael Mikkelson.
In briefs: A Wal-Mart store is closer to reality in Merrill as attorney Glen Hartley is working with the city on zoning for the newly annexed land located on the east city limits. It is hoped ground breaking for both Wal-Mart and an adjoining shopping complex will happen in August. Warren Weckwerth has announced he is seeking re-election as the county Register of Deeds. Weckwerth has served in that position since 1967, previously he was a police officer in the City of Merrill. Harvey Emanuel, Chief of the Merrill Fire Department, has been elected president of the Wisconsin State Fire Chiefs Association. The group serves over 600 members in the state of Wisconsin; Emanuel has been on the board of directors of that for the past six years. The Merrill Area Housing Authority has unveiled the new addition to Park Place. The Badger Room is an activity room on the south side of the first floor of the facility. At a grand opening the Jolly Fisherman Band serenaded the guests.
Officer Rick Hermsen of the Merrill Police Department is calling it a career. Hermsen is retiring from the local force after serving the past 20 years with a total of 29 years in law enforcement. Hermsen is probably best known to the youth in the community for his work as a DARE officer. Hermsen plans on working as a golf pro in his retirement. (Still patrolling the greens in sunny Florida).
The Town of Harding Town Board will have a complete makeover as three office holders were all defeated in a recall election. Ron Hornischer is now the town chairman, Steve Plautz is a new supervisor, and Tim Sandholm is the treasurer. Dave Ament remains on the board and was not subject to recall. The board members faced recall after a controversial agreement with Wisconsin Public Service for a boat landing.
Twenty-five citizens have volunteered to be extra eyes and ears for the Merrill Police Department in an effort to keep our parks clean. This is in response to complaints of drinking, underage smoking, and littering in the parks. Rims were returned to the basketball courts at Stange’s Park this past week after they were removed due to unsightly litter and other problems there. The users of those courts have agreed to partner with the city to self-police that area themselves and keep litter in check.